This Old House, Glaser Edition

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

A Pecan near the Pee-Can

A mysterious guest left us the housewarming gift in the master bedroom yesterday.

Tammy's father is building wooden thresholds for the doorways upstairs. He removed the threshold of the door leading from the master bedroom to the bathroom and headed downstairs for a spell. When he returned, he spotted a tiny pecan on the floor.

We have two theories: the east side of the house has several trees with squirrels. A squirrel could have found its way into the crawl space and stashed it in our bedroom for safekeeping. The other possibility lies in the spiritual realm, and perhaps some ghost has a pecan fetish, in addition to the rusty nail fetish. Even though this mysterious guest appeared on Hallowe'en Eve, Tammy hedges her bets on the material explanation.

Pecan near the Pee-Can

Speaking of Halloween, kids are never too old to dress up and go trick-or-treating. Pamela dressed up as a cute, cuddly white cat, while David was a modern-day hippie, asking folks to sign a petition for "whirled peas" and "peas on earth." Many people got the joke and signed the petition. Others wanted nothing to do with it, and David casually replied, "That's cool, man." We saw many neat costumes and a live tarantula--yes, live!

Two Cool Cats

Monday, October 30, 2006

Somebody Had a Nail Fetish

One-thousand, nine-hundred, and forty-seven cubic inches of nails are what we have in our shed! Three 13.5" by 16.25" boxes with nails three inches deep have been rusting away in our shed, probably for the last half a century. We thought the bucketful of tetanus near the root cellar was bad. That bucket contained only 904 cubic inches of iron oxide! Are you surprised that we are making progress in filling up a second dumpster?
Two Boxes of TetanusA Third Box of Iron Oxide

Friday, October 27, 2006

Absolutely Floored!

We had planned to install a laminate floor on top of the wooden floors, which were in terrible shape. Tammy's parents have laminate flooring in their kitchen, which her dad and brother installed in about five hours. They look great and are easy to maintain.

Some had told us that the floors, painted years ago, would gum up the sanding equipment, so restoring them would be an expensive nasty job. Steve called the floor cop anyway, who begged to differ after seeing the floors for himself. The cop shrugged his shoulders and explained he had brought back floors in far worse condition. We were skeptical, but his prices were reasonable enough to try. For the price of covering 858 square feet of mid-range laminate, he could restore the floors already there.

We are believers now! The floors turned out to be absolutely stunning as you can see! We also picked up a few tidbits about floors. The floors upstairs are yellow pine, while the floors downstairs are oak. At the time in which the house was built, people considered oak to be more suitable for company, but it was also more expensive. To save on building costs, they covered family areas with pine and formal rooms with oak. Pine floors are much softer than oak and show more wear over time. The paint covering the floor did us a favor because it has been protecting them all these years.

The cop and his family sanded the floors several times with increasingly finer sand paper each round. Tammy's brother cannibalized floor inside the cabinet in the homeschool room to get closely matched wood to repair the places in the homeschool room and master bedroom where the wall sinks once stood. To prevent dust from flying everywhere, they attached a burlap bag to the sander and filled eight green garbage bags with dust. Then they swept up the dust and then gave it three coats of finish with a natural stain. We chose semi-gloss over high-gloss because the latter will show scratches and marks more easily.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Super Smash Brothers

Our daughter Pamela loves Mario and Luigi on Gameboy, so today's title will surely brighten her face. The walls of Steve's office, the only room with plaster remaining, were badly cracked walls with the potential of even more cracks. Our super smash brothers, Tammy's brother and coworker, rescued the room and managed to gut the entire office in one day. Dust flew everywhere, and they hauled piles and piles of rubble to the dumpster. Both were so sore from the hard labor, a tornado could have ripped through town and they would have been none the wiser. Here are some before and gutted pictures.

Before Fireplace WallGutted Fireplace Wall

Before Very Bad CrackAbsolutely No Cracks!

Before Bay WindowAfter Bay Window

The most exciting news is that the floor cop and his wife started the floors upstairs. Floor cop is not a catchy name; he is a cop who moonlights by restoring wooden floors. His parents did this for a living, and he learned the business from them in his youth. Rumor around town was that they were the best when it came to wooden floors, but their prices are so reasonable to make it seem dubious. After one day's work on the floor, we are believers! The beautiful in bare wood lurking underneath paint, dust, dirt, and cruide turned out to be a delicate light brown. David's room, the homeschool room, and the hallway will be darker because those floors were chocolate brown. We cannot wait for the two weeks to be over, so we can see how they will appear after more sanding and several coats of color and finish.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Blog Subscription

A fellow blogger (thanks, Mary) pointed out that we could more easily alert interested parties (limited to very close family and friends with a high tolerance level for home improvement minutia) by setting up a subscription service. Now we no longer have to alert everyone, especially those who secretly have no interest in the progress of our house, whenever we make a new post. To join this wonderful service, look at the sidebar on the right in the section called "About Me". Just under the blue words "View my complete profile" are the words "Enter your Email". To subscribe, type your email address in the blank above the button that says, "Subscribe me!" Follow the three steps in the new window that pops open and you will be able to receive every tedious detail about our adventures in home improvement in your very own email box! If you are not computer geeks like us and are having trouble subscribing click "View my complete profile" and click "Email" in the contact section. If that completely loses you, click this and order now! If all else fails, cross your fingers and click this.

Cedar Solution

Cedar Lined Closet in the Master BedroomYou may be congratulating us for being far-sighted enough to install cedar liners in our master bedroom closet. After all, anybody who knows anything about home improvement must know all about cedar's natural protection from moths, roaches, silverfish and mildew with a much more pleasant aroma than mothballs. Cedar is also historically accurate as evidenced in an ad for Brown's Supercedar Closet Lining in Good Housekeeping in 1927! If you give us that much credit, you are sadly deceived, and we hope to correct your grave error in judgment.

Sometimes there is no nice way to put something distasteful, and we will try our best. We had a little problem with the master bedroom closet, where we will hang our clothes. Tammy's brother noticed that, if you took a deep whiff, you found an "aroma" that reminds one of something nasty on your shoe after having taken your dog on a walk. His solution was to line it with a cedar closet liner. Given the choice between clothes that smell like cedar and dog excrement, we agreed with his proposal.

Except for touch-ups and the floor, the master bedroom is done. Tammy decided to play it safe with the colors of the master bedroom and saw a photograph of a bedroom in one of Lowe's color guides with an analogous scheme in the Yellow/Gold/Umber range. The walls are Belle Grove Buff; the trim and popcorn ceiling, Quail Egg; and the firplace, Paramount White. You can see the exact scheme by going to the American Tradition page and click "Photograph Galley." You can view our inspiration in the pop-up window by the selecting "interior photos", "bedrooms", and "Yellow, Gold, Umber" and then click "go". Below are some before and after shots of the master bedroom. We plan to put up the plantation shutters once Tammy's dad glazes the windows.

Before Northwest Corner of Master BedroomAfter Northwest Corner of Master Bedroom

Before Master Bedroom FireplaceAfter Master Bedroom Fireplace

Speaking of glazing, the honorary member of the Glaser family, Tammy's dad, has taken on one more project: several of the fireplaces have decorative mirrors that are showing their age. Her dad found somebody local who can restore the mirrors! Her dad will be applying his newly developed glazing skills to remove and reinstall all the mirrors. Below is a before shot, but, as you can see, the after shot remains to be seen!

Before Fireplace MirrorMissing Mirror

Sunday, October 01, 2006

One Can in the Can

The master bathroom is nearly finished! All we are waiting for is a switch plate to arrive in the mail and a toilet seat. We kept the old shower, but replaced everything else. Because Steve works for a plumbing company, we bought the sink and toilet suite for a decent price. Tammy's brother and coworker tiled the floor and walls halfway up and, to save a bit on the tile topping, bought decorative molding to finish the tile (thank you Mom for the awesome idea). To go with a Victorian theme, we settled upon an Heirloom pedestal sink and faucets made by Steve's company and Victorian style fixtures purchased at Lowes: a double towel bar, toilet paper holder, hand towel ring, double robe hook, glass shelf, oval tilting mirror, and light fixture. We did not have many choices for the light fixture because we both prefer "bulbs-up" look. Throughout the house, including the bathroom, we chose pewter beaded switch plates, but special special ordered a few ones without beading for odd needs. The only plastic switch plates are covering the cable connectors.

Because the bathroom lacks a closet, we plan to purchase an armoire for the corner near the toilet for storage. Tammy likes her mother's idea of having a large basket for holding decorative towels. The other end of the bathroom has a window and we plan to have a pretty bench for dressing, as that area is long and narrow. The wall colors are Lowes American Tradition Desert Sand and the trim is Mark Twain Brown, while the tile is American Olean tile in the color Walnut. Below are three "before" shots and three "after" shots.

Before Master BathroomAfter Master Bathroom

Before Master BathroomAfter Master Bathroom

Before Master Bathroom WindowAfter Master Bathroom Window

Will the Real Glaser Please Stand Up?

Tammy's Dad's Porch
Although Steve and Tammy are Glasers by name, Tammy's dad has proved himself to be the real "glaser"--German for glazier. Her dad has an unlikely background for cleaning trim and glazing windows. He started out working on tobacco farms as a youth and spent twenty years in the Navy, cooking and running galleys, before retiring as a civil servant working in Army supply. He was not the handiest father: we kids lived with things like pencil sharpeners set up for lefties! Once dad retired and bought a Victorian house, he became so handy that he restored the porch that wraps around the house. He did everything from fixing up and remaking the columns and railings to replacing the wood on the porch floor. He is now known for having one of the most beautiful porches in town! He has even built wooden flowerpots, shelves, and headboards.

Before WindowAfter WindowTammy's dad likes to keep busy and now, that he has finally completed refinishing his porch for the second time, he has time on his hands to try his hand at glazing. He is stripping the windows of layers of paint, repainting them, cleaning up the glass, and glazing them. Judging the difference between the before and after pictures, he is doing a fine job--a true craftsman. Two windows have missing panes, and several are cracked. The window in David's bathroom has some kind of wallpaper stuck to it. We have decided to cover the windows with storm windows to lower the electric bill. In lieu of screened storm windows, they are thinking about buying some adjustable screens that you pop into the window whenever you desire fresh air. They are fairly inexpensive and much easier to maintain.

Even though work on the house has continued, Tammy has been on hiatus from blogging because life gets in the way. Now that the kids are fully back in the homeschool mode, she plans to blog about the nearly finished rooms upstairs, the front walk, and the floors, which are getting restored starting tomorrow. She finds it relaxing to take a break from algebra, biology experiments (did you know a tiny sample of pond culture on a microscope still reeks), writing assignments, and many books, not to mention Pamela's speech therapy and astronomy class.